Employee Benefits

Get the Competitive Advantage to Find and Keep the Best Employees

Employers of every size and industry are searching for the best ways to find and keep talented employees. Today’s job seekers want more than a base salary with traditional benefits. They’re looking for employers that offer work-life balance, corporate social responsibility, and a range of job perks and benefits that meet their needs.

New information gathered by Workforce magazine, in partnership with Ameritas, through the Using Benefits for Competitive Advantage survey, uncovered best practices for employers to create a competitive advantage by approaching employee benefits strategically. Consider four ways to hire and retain the best employees.

Two young business colleagues working together on a project on computer.

Practice proactive benefits communication

Employees don’t use their benefits because they don’t know how to use them, research shows. It’s critical for employers to focus on explaining benefits and perks. Start by developing a robust benefits communication strategy using a variety of channels, such as email, supervisors, intranet, employee newsletters, video, and social media, to make it easier for employees to understand their plans.

Communicating benefits once a year during the enrollment period is not enough. Share information and tips year-round to help employees know the coverage options available them and how to participate.

Provide financial well-being benefits

Many employees are struggling with financial obligations. Nearly 66 percent of employers address employees’ concerns through a variety of financial well-being benefits and perks. But one area seems lacking: student loan debt.

The study showed that nearly four in 10 employers believe the student loan crisis has had no effect on the benefits they offer employees. But the student loan problem is far-reaching, affecting young and older workers alike. Nearly a third of millennials have student loan debts, as well as about 7 million workers ages 40 to 49.

Employers should consider offering a student loan repayment benefit as a holistic approach to helping employees with financial well-being. Assisting employees in this area can bring higher levels of engagement and retention. And it’s an attractive option to give employers a competitive advantage.

Adopt best practices in measuring business outcomes of benefits

The study showed many employers find measuring business outcomes of benefits is a top challenge. But employers who approach benefits strategically track the return of investment on benefits and obtain employee feedback on the coverage they value most.

A set of carefully considered and appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) helps employers see if benefits are being used or if they are wasting time and money on coverage employees don’t need.

When setting up KPIs, employers should connect benefit usage trends to health care costs, retention, engagement, and absenteeism. This information can be helpful in designing employee benefit packages.

Smiling office worker in headphones looking at laptop screen.

Incorporate technology into benefits practices

Nearly half of the employers responding to the survey indicated that benefits technology provides a competitive advantage. But one in six cited a lack of expertise in technology as a top challenge.

Newer generations of workers rely on technology in every aspect of their lives. Benefits management suites or mobile interface apps give employees better access to their benefits and perks. Employers who provide benefits enrollment and communication online and in mobile-friendly interfaces will see higher benefits adoption and employee satisfaction.

Employers who use benefits strategically are far ahead in the use of benefits technology tools. From chatbots to benefits apps, these organizations are exploring new platforms and programs for benefits management in greater number than their counterparts. For employers who struggle to use technology, many benefits partners provide training and expertise to make it easier to use available tools.

The labor market is tightening, and organizations must respond to that challenge. Read this whitepaper for a summary of the survey results, and to learn more about best practices for creating a competitive advantage by approaching employee benefits strategically.